PGA Tour hopes for best after rain, Liberty National | Sports News
By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
JERSEY CITY, NJ (AP) – Liberty National avoided the blast of the wind from Hurricane Henri, but not the rain that forced the Northern Trust’s final round to end on Monday.
It was hope, anyway.
Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith finished the third round on Saturday tied for the lead at 16-197, one stroke ahead of Erik van Rooyen.
The PGA Tour decided even before the start of the third round that Henry was too dangerous for players, spectators and volunteers to be at Liberty National on Sunday. Officials came to the course along the Hudson River and found the course to be in good condition.
“Really good for 5 inches of rain,” said John Mutch, the PGA Tour rules manager overseeing the event. “They were working on the bunkers when I was there. There is not a lot of standing water. I was happy. I have seen much worse.
Regular rain continued to fall in early Sunday afternoon. Mutch planned to check it out later today and then decide, with an updated prediction, when the players would start the final round. A few pop-up thunderstorms were possible late Monday afternoon.
The course was built on an old landfill and drains relatively well.
It was no small task preparing for Henri, who was downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall in Rhode Island on Sunday.
Hours after Smith set the course record with a 60 – he missed a 12-foot putt for a 59 – and Rahm finished with a par for a 67 to share the lead, the workers at Liberty National did a good job. Saturday night to secure anything that could blow.
The portable toilets have been grouped and secured. The ShotLink cameras that measure every shot on every hole have been dismantled. All the metal fences that formed the lines for the ferry crossing the river to Manhattan or the footbridge for players to the training ground were secured.
These must be replaced before the final round can begin.
As for the players, it was a rare day off. They had a final full wash at the Zozo Championship outside Tokyo in the fall of 2019. The BMW Championship at Aronimink outside of Philadelphia was won on Sunday, leading to a close on Monday. In this case, the decision to postpone was not announced in advance.
Several players were staying in Manhattan, usually a good place to sit late, except it was complicated to get around.
There was a lot at stake in the PGA Tour playoffs. The first 70 in the FedEx Cup standings after this tournament qualify for the BMW Championship, which begins Thursday ahead of Baltimore.
Keith Mitchell was at No.101. He is tied at six for 11th and is currently expected to move up to No.69 which would place him in the BMW Championship. Tom Hoge was at No.108 and in a tie three for sixth at Liberty National, is expected to move up to No.57.
Van Rooyen was in a position to win with a header, and his travel schedule suddenly became much less complicated.
The South African arrived at Liberty National in 76th overall and planned to play next week, either in Baltimore or Switzerland for the Omega European Masters.
Van Rooyen won the Barracuda Championship two weeks ago for his first PGA Tour title. With the points now worth a quadruple value, he seemed certain to extend his touring season one way or another.
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